Surge Protective Devices Onboard Vessels

MarineLink.com
Monday, April 08, 2013

Surge protective devices (SPDs), more commonly known as surge protectors or power strips, help protect electronic devices from being damaged from excessive currents and allow the delivery of power to multiple devices simultaneously. This safety alert addresses the use of certain electrical protection devices onboard vessels and the inherent risks they may cause. Most commercially available SPDs are designed for use ashore and will interrupt only the hot conductor when a surge occurs. What does that mean for the ship owner/operator? It means that while these devices may provide protection in our homes and offices, these same devices may be fire risks onboard vessels.

A marine casualty investigation of two separate stateroom fires onboard a U.S. Flag Container ship revealed that the sources of the fires were attributed to the use of SPDs plugged into a lighting circuit. It was discovered that a ground had developed on another circuit that was connected to the same distribution panel providing power to the staterooms. This ground created an imbalance of voltage between the two power conductors supplying the SPDs which caused excessive currents, overheating, and subsequently, a fire. In this instance, even if the SPDs automatically tripped as designed, only one power conductor would have been secured while the other would continue to provide power, possibly shorting to the device's ground wire and the structure of the vessel.

For shipboard applications, it is critical for a device to interrupt both power conductors. Underwriters Lab Standard - UL Marine 1449 - addresses this issue and applies to the use of SPDs.

The Coast Guard recommends that vessel Owners, Operators, Class Society Surveyors, Insurers, and other inspection personnel examine the risks associated with the use of SPDs aboard their vessels, and if necessary ensure their organizations have policies and procedures relating to their use.  Vessels should have defined procedures for checking the condition and grounding capabilities of personal/portable electrical equipment, and trained shipboard personnel should be assigned to check and approve all SPDs in use or brought on board for compatibility with the vessel's electrical distribution system prior to use. Routine checks of switchboard and distribution system 120 VAC ground detection systems are necessary to detect the presence of grounds that may cause similar circumstances with non-marine type SPDs. These recommendations are not mandated, rather just an advisory based on lessons learned from the casualty.

www.marineinvestigations.us
 

Maritime Reporter September 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Marine Electronics

MARAD Shipbuilding Loan Guarantee

The launch of the Bravante IX, built in a U.S. shipyard, was from the investments made by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) just three years ago. The investment

BCG Releases PCVM Emulation

Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) Inc. announced the addition of another emulation product to its family of Radar Simulators. BCG has completed an emulation of the VisionMaster FT radar – our PCVM.

Telemar to Supply Broadband for Herm. Dauelsberg

Telemar GmbH, the German subsidiary of the Telemar Group, closed an agreement with Herm. Dauelsberg for the supply of a complete “turn-key solution” for their fleet of 18 vessels.

Maritime Safety

USCG Medevacs Mariner in Port Alexander, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced an 87-year-old female reportedly suffering from complications associated with a lower back injury aboard the fishing vessel Annie B in Port Alexander, Sunday evening.

VIKING Saatsea Puts Crew Training in its Place

VIKING Saatsea will be at SMM 2014 to showcase the revolution it has brought about in crew training – moving everything on board to cut costs, speed up certification,

USCG Responds to Plane Crash 51 mi SE Of Chincoteague Island, VA

The Coast Guard is responding to a plane crash Saturday approximately 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.   Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1043 sec (10 req/sec)